The Royal Heffernans

Quite possibly the best family ever

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Death of a Legend

I guess I can't say I'm surprised. The latest casualty of the digital age is the Encyclopedia Britannica. Following in the path of newspapers, DVDs, CDs and even books, Encyclopedia Britannica today announced they will no longer offer a printed edition of their vaunted set. First published in 1768, the latest edition, published in 2010, will be it's last.

I could go on and on about Encyclopedia Britannica and what the loss means as far as progress, but I think that is really just sentiment. In reality, no encyclopedia can keep up with the rapid pace of knowledge now available online - for free. However, I wanted to focus in a bit more on my own personal experiences with it. I remember when Mom and Dad bought our family set. I don't know how much it cost, but I'm sure it wasn't cheap! At first, I was just astounded by the details and knowledge that it offered. Prior to the internet, their were 3 ways to learn things: in school, from your parents, or at the library using card catalogs. Britannica offered me a better way.

This set sitting on the shelf in our living room had the answers to almost every question I had. I didn't have to ask someone, or get to the library, or wait until it came up in school. I could look myself. That was a great thing. I can't even begin to count the number of reports that I wrote based upon those books. I know I spent countless hours reading them just for fun as well. I will say without a doubt, that my education was vastly enhanced by this set. Who knows where I might be today without having Encyclopedia Britannica in our house when I was younger.

That same set stills sits on the shelf on Copperglow. Gathering dust, it is now officially a relic. It really only has worth for sentimental value now, but I say it was one of the best investments our parents ever made.



ian said...

And without those encyclopedias, where would I store my all-time high Yatzi score?

Teddy said...

228, right?

I didn't see any paper in there the last time I checked!!!